Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Common Sense

I always knew this.

Research: Expectations Can Help Healing
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer 44 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Your medicine really could work better if your doctor talks it up before handing over the prescription. Research is showing the power of expectations, that they have physical — not just psychological — effects on your health....
My favorite? When sickly, I invest ice cream with the power to
do magical things. When not sickful, it's called preventative medicine.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Drudge Link

And they say Drudge only presents conservative news:

Study - Longer needles needed for fatter buttocks.

Flu shots

Saved $15 this year by getting the flu before I had a chance to get
the flu shot. At least I think it was the flu. Usually you don't
get the fever dreams, chills, and grim reaper wrestling match
with a regular cold. I still feel wimpish, though miles better than
those first two days. Suppose I'll do some light duty kind of work;
save the heavy chopping for another day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lost on the Autobahn

Another odd story from Ananova:

Professor stopped on motorway in wheelchair
An 'absent-minded' professor was stopped by police as he tried to drive 110 miles down a German motorway in his wheelchair.

Police stopped Wolfgang Hain, 67, on the A43 motorway near Herne in North Rhine Westphalia driving six mph in his electric wheelchair - in traffic travelling at speeds above 100 mph.

Hain told them he was going home to Vechta, more than 110 miles away, after visiting family nearby, and said he had already put five miles behind him.

The retired astronomy professor said that when he passed his driving test almost 50 years ago any vehicle had been allowed to drive on the motorway and he had not realised this had changed.

Officer Peter Feldkirch said: "He seemed a bit absent-minded but was fully aware of who he was and where he was going. But I'm not sure if he realised that it would take him 20 hours to get home."

Hain was given a fine and escorted to the nearest B road where he was allowed to continue his journey.
The odd part is that bit at the end. "A bit absent minded" so you send him off
on an adventure down the side roads?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Reactions to the Riots

I found a good summary of Arab and Muslim reactions to the rioting in France.
Two of the reactions were especially interesting:

Events Prove that Western Ideas Will Not Improve the Middle East
In an article in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, titled "Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity are Not for All," columnist Dr. Khaled 'Awid Al-Jinfawi wrote: "This obvious failure of some of the immigrant societies in Western countries to integrate culturally and socially again sheds 'historical' light on the degree of success in implementing many Western ideas of progressivism, such as 'liberty, equality, and human fraternity,'... in the Middle East.

"If the ideals of equality, justice, democracy, human rights, and fraternity, which emerged in the West and were adopted by the French Revolution in the late 18th century, have not managed to eradicate poverty and inequality, and have even increased the marginality of the [immigrant] communities, deprived [them of] their rights, and denied them many opportunities in the economy, in education, and in development – then how can these ideas... improve the lot of many in the Middle East?..."
Well first off, it's a two way street. The immigrants have to want to assimilate
into their adoptive country. In the US many from the Middle East have taken advantage
of the offered 'liberty, equality, and human fraternity.' Others have not. In France, I'm not
entirely sure it has been offered. I suspect this next guy's got it right:
Leading Iranian Daily: "The Politicians of Paris Can No Longer Hide the Country's Ugly Face of Racist Discrimination"

The conservative Iranian daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami wrote in an editorial: "In addition to the historical claims to being defenders of human rights that the French have engraved on their brows, and in addition to the medal of pride they have awarded themselves for implementing democracy and freedom, the French politicians have tried to install their name at the forefront of the defenders of human rights in the world, and to [have France] renowned as the cultural center of Europe and of the world...

"The killing of two youths by the French police... ended the patience of the people who had for years suffered from the racist discrimination of this country [France]. And their quiet movement has now turned to overt and violent rebellion.
"engraved on their brows," I love it. It looks like the French are happy to pay
lip service to these high ideals but lose their conviction when it comes down
to doing the real work. Wasn't it the compassionate and caring French that
lost 15 thousand of their grandmas and grandpas to heat wave because the
kids were off on vacation and couldn't be bothered? "We take care of our
elderly, except, you know, when it involves doing things for them."
So yeah, maybe the French aren't providing a place at the table for
their Middle Eastern immigrants. What goes around, comes around, I guess.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Please say you made that up

More weird:

At 10 p.m. on Oct. 19, Ralph Parker, 93, in his Chevrolet Malibu, eased up to a tollbooth on Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg, Fla., inattentive to the fact that there was a dead body lodged in his windshield (the result of a collision about three miles away). According to police, Parker was off by about 10 miles when asked where he was and by two months on the date, and he thought the body had just fallen from the sky. Parker's son, 66, said he was aware his father had been deteriorating mentally, yet Parker's driver's license was renewed last year through his age 99, based on Florida's lax renewal policy (toughened for the state's 54,000 age-80-and-up drivers only by a vision test). (By contrast, for example, Florida requires 16 hours' training every two years for its licensed cosmetologists.) [St. Petersburg Times, 10-21-05]

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poor Soctty

Could there be a more ignominious way to be carried to your final resting place?

In life, James Doohan was the "Star Trek" engineer who worked miracles on the Enterprise, but a rocket meant to blast his remains into space has engine trouble.

A Falcon One rocket was to lift the ashes of Doohan, who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott aboard the fictional Starship Enterprise, into space next month but the launch has been delayed at least until February, organizers said Tuesday.
Well the rocket could have blown up on the launch
pad like our rockets used to do in the 60's. But of course it
doesn't come close to the worst, very worst, scattering
of ashes ever. (from the Big Lebowski)


So here it is, the holidays coming up and I've only just finished
taking off the weight I gained from last Thanksgiving/Christmas.
Though, my excuse is being a new Catholic, I got mixed up on the
feast-fast thing and spent something like 40 days stuffing myself
last Easter. OK, so I'll get it right next time.

Guess I'll do a turkey again this year, though I'm still not ready to
try deep-frying one. You hear these horror stories, you know? And
besides that, just the thought of 5 gallons of oil being brought up
to face melting temperatures makes me feel wimpish. Makes a guy
want to google "skin grafts" first. Yeah, maybe next year.

What else? oh, we sent the kid to school with the canned vegetables
for the Thanksgiving Food Drive. The usual stuff. Can't believe the
kid repeated the "well, I'm pretty sure poor people like okra" line to
her science teacher though. Me, I can't understand how it is we end
up with several cans of okra every year. It's not like anyone in this
house will eat the darned stuff. I can't think of anyone, rich or poor,
who would choose okra over anything else, even if they were gnaw-
off-your-own-arm starving. At least we've got food drives to help
get rid of the stuff. [and yes, *most* of what we donated was good stuff;
the okra was hidden at the bottom of the bag, sort of an after thought/
possible door stop]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Well, Che's dead so he's out

What will happen to Nightline?

Can anyone fill Koppel's shoes?
‘Nightline' revamps to stay relevant
By Peter Johnson

NEW YORK — ABC's Nightline is about to begin a new chapter. Three anchors, not household names, are set to replace news legend Ted Koppel. And the show's trademark single-topic format cedes to a multi-topic one.

As Koppel closes in on his final Nightline broadcast Nov. 22, its future is in doubt...

New people, different format, the show will be gone is what they're saying. Which makes you
wonder who will go out searching for bitter Katrina victims now?
One thing you can say about Ted though; he usually has a good grasp of his subject matter.
I caught his show after the hotel bombings in Jordan and he had all the facts, how Jordan
has helped the US, how (most?) Jordanians were hostile towards the US, how supporting the
US effort brought all this on, etc. And almost Katrina-like he tried, unsuccessfully, to get a
Jordanian official to blame the US.
Best response, which Ted may have misunderstood, the ambassador said they would get to the
root causes of the bombing. He was referring to going after bad guys, and squashing them.
Refreshing it was.

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's Not Just France

It seems much of Europe is at risk:

Is Swedish Democracy Collapsing?
The number of ghettos, a phenomenon that until recently was unheard of in wealthy and egalitarian Scandinavian nations, has been increasing explosively. 14 years ago, there were only 3 such areas in all of Sweden. Today, there are 136. Stockholm politician Annika Billström warns against the dangers of creating ghettos in Sweden. Rock throwing and attacks against buses and trains are increasing problems in some suburbs....
scroll down

Friday, November 11, 2005

But the French...

Ah well, not good:

On Oct. 28, the French daily Le Figaro reported that Al Qaida-aligned cells have obtained SA-18s for attacks against French airliners. The daily said the cells acquired the missiles in 2002 from the so-called Chechen mafia.

Sure hope these are taken out of circulation soon*

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Payback? Don't think so

From Bloomberg:

....Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of Iraq's al-Qaeda cell,
said in a statement posted on the Internet that his followers carried out the attacks, Petra
reported without providing further details.

The Radisson SAS hotel, the Hyatt Amman and the Days Inn hotels had been ``turned
by the dictator of Jordan into a garden for the enemies of our religion, the Jews and
the Crusaders,'
Sure, if it weren't for Iraq, we'd all be as safe as Spain, or France, or Indonesia.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


"Immigrant Parisian youths, enraged by lack of job opportunities and a growing shortage of flammable cars, tonight turned their wrath on another hated symbol of French cultural oppression - the accordion...."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Here's one you won't find every day, from Aftenposten:

Female rapist loses appeal
A Norwegian jury Tuesday upheld a lower court's conviction of a young woman found guilty of raping a male acquaintance.

The 24-year-old woman was earlier sentenced to nine months in prison for raping the man after a night on the town in January 2004.

She appealed the decision, and said when her trial began Monday that she was appalled by how the case had swelled, in her opinion, way out of proportion.


I just read the Yahoo story to see if it was true that Al Franken was going to
run for political office. Reading this though, well, I'm not sure who he's
targeting as potential supporters:

Still, for Franken, a one-liner is never far away.

He skewers Republican leader Tom DeLay for saying proper medical care might have revived Schiavo as she remained in a vegetative state while politicians debated her fate.

"In other words, given proper treatment, there was no reason Terry Schiavo couldn't live out her lifelong dream of being a Rockette," Franken quipped.
That's what he quipped huh? Comic genius.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The French Plan

From YnetNews via No Pasaran:

“It’s business as usual,” Samy Ghozlan, head of the anti-Semitism vigilance bureau told EJP. “These communities are used to these daily assaults. It’s worrisome, but we fear the worst is still to come.”

“Now that the media decided to reduce coverage of the riots, the thugs may intensify the violence against the Jews, to regain media attention," he added.

French authorities advised Jewish security officials not to publicize their fears, as such declarations could encourage rioters to attack Jews and Jewish community buildings.

Ah, finally a plan. Keep a low profile and maybe you won't be attacked. Course the
only rule they need is the universal cop's rule. Rule is: cops win. No matter what
happens, cops win. Once that's established, it's easier on everyone, flicks and bad
guys alike. Hope the French sort it out soon. I really do.

almost forgot

Forgot to include a source for that quote:

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."

-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

Sunday, November 06, 2005

DITSUM No. 044-02

Back in 2002 Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a captured al Qaeda black-hat, claimed to have sent al Qaeda
members to Iraq to train in chemical and biological weapons. The CIA called him credible but noted
that he wouldn't know if the training had taken place. The DIA, turns out rightly, wasn't so sure Libi
had even sent them.

So Carl Levin got two paragraphs of DITSUM No. 044-02, a DIA report, declassified. The
important part:
""It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers," the February 2002 report said. "Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."

What was the rest of the DIA report? Well, I'd assume that it contained Libi's claims. The two excerpted
paragraphs are all that Levin needed declassified. He didn't want the whole report because it would bring up
the question, "Why report his claims if you know them to be false?" Of course the DIA said it was
possible that he didn't know the details. They didn't *know* him to be a liar. And what about the
CIA report on Libi's claims? DIA wins this one over CIA but it's important to note that they said
"probably" false, not false with a certainty.

Maybe they should have been more bold. If they had denounced all of Libi's claims as lies, our
politicians wouldn't be caught out making statements such as these:

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.
He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."

Friday, November 04, 2005


It's not a surprise that the mainstream media ignores all the good things happening in
Iraq, but there is very you can do to refute the media's defense that well, good news
doesn't interest people; we tell the stories that people want to hear. They've got not a
leg to stand on here though:

....he Times printed an excerpt from the letter — which Starr had intended to be read by his girlfriend in the event of his death — in which he wrote, "I kind of predicted this . . . A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances."

The Times stopped there, but the letter continued:

"I don't regret going, everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me, that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
How could anyone pick that first part out and ignore the powerful, honest, and touching
second part? How could it be illustrated any more clearly? The NYT has an agenda.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

But When Would You Drink It?

Mmmmm, coffee beer:


A drink somewhere between coffee and beer could soon be on the menu. Nestec, part of the Nestlé empire in Switzerland, has filed patents in every major market round the world on a "fermented coffee beverage" that pours and foams like beer, but smells of strong coffee and packs a concentrated caffeine kick.

The beverage is made in a similar way to beer, but fine-tuned temperature control stops the formation of ethyl alcohol. So the new drink could go down well with people who want a long tall pick-me-up while driving....

Poor Crab

More reasons for the internet to exist:
Crab learns physics lesson.